About five percent of Adam Brosgall’s legal practice is dedicated to offering mobile services. (photo from Adam Brosgall)
While providing mobile legal services is only a small portion of what lawyer, notary public and commissioner of oaths Adam Brosgall does, it distinguishes him.
“Most people manage to make it into my office, but some clients have special circumstances that require me to visit them,” Brosgall told the Independent.
Practising law since 1999, Brosgall – who grew up in Vancouver and is quite involved in the local Jewish community with his wife and their two young children – opened his own firm in 2010. His office is located on Howe Street, right across from the Vancouver Law Courts.
“One of my main focuses is international business transactions, helping people with their overseas legal matters,” said Brosgall. “If a client needs to send a contract, agreement, power of attorney or other official documentation from Canada to another country, each document needs to be properly legalized. This obscure legal procedure is also known as ‘Apostille certification.’ I prepare their documentation and make sure it’s processed properly through various government entities, consulates and embassies in Vancouver, Toronto or Ottawa.”
Brosgall often deals with the Israeli consulate in Toronto and their embassy in Ottawa. “As there’s no Israeli diplomatic mission in Vancouver, a lot of people who don’t want to travel to Toronto or Ottawa to deal with their legal issues will retain me to handle their affairs,” he explained.
Since starting up his own firm, Brosgall has noticed a need in many communities for mobile legal services. Quite often, the clients for these services are elderly people who are home- or hospital-bound.
“Sometimes, they might need to prepare a will, a POA [power of attorney] or a representation agreement for personal care,” said Brosgall. “These are the three major documents people should get done as they age, ensuring everything is in order. If they haven’t done that, often their younger relatives will call me and ask me to come to their house, a care home or hospital.
“People give me the information I need over the phone or by e-mail. Then, I prepare all the documents in my office and make sure everything is perfect. I then take everything to the client, along with my seals, stamps and various payment methods.
“I offer a very seamless service. After I receive their instructions, I take care of everything – I visit them, take the documents with me and notarize their signature while I’m there…. I work very carefully behind the scenes but, from the client’s perspective, it seems instantaneous. When I leave, they have everything they need.”
Brosgall’s mobile services are also offered to businesses that need documents signed by multiple people in one office. In these situations, Brosgall can save a business a substantial amount of time by visiting their office, as opposed to each individual needing to travel to his office.
“Sometimes, actors who are very busy and are staying in a hotel in Downtown Vancouver can’t take time off from the set,” said Brosgall. “Their manager or assistant will call me and say they need me to come to their hotel and meet them in the lobby at a certain time, so they can sign some kind of contract the film studio or agency needs the actor to sign.”
According to Brosgall, anything that he can do in his office, he can also do at a remote location.
The term notarization can mean two things – witnessing a signature or preparing a certified copy of a document. In the first instance, Brosgall witnesses on-site the signing of a document and puts his stamp and seal on it to signify that he saw it being done and that the parties involved understood the document. In the latter instance, when people need to have a certified copy of something, such as their passport or driver’s licence, he said, “I just make a photocopy while I’m at the office or they provide me with copies and I’ll compare them to the original and certify it’s a true copy.”
The mobile service comes with a fee that is dependent on distance, time spent away from the office and the nature of the documentation. The mobile service fee is added to Brosgall’s standard document processing fee.
Brosgall advertises his service on Google using Adwords, and also publishes articles on his website, which are then picked up by Google and other search engines.
“So, if you Google ‘mobile notary in Vancouver,’ my website will be at the top or close to the top of the page, and people call,” he said. “And, when people call, I’m always very helpful and responsive.”
He also promotes his services “the old-fashioned way,” he said. “I attend different hospitals and nursing homes and such. Whenever I am there, I speak to the social workers, the nurses or the staff and leave my business card. Quite often, it will be the nursing home or the hospital that will recommend my services. In this way, people hear of me by word-of-mouth.”
Some cases are more urgent than others, of course. “Some people are in a rush because their relative might be at the end of life and there can’t be any delays,” said Brosgall. “Those, I give my full attention, because I want to make sure things are done quickly. I get their info and circumstances from their relatives and draft their documentation that same day. Then, I’ll usually head out to meet them the next day.”
There have been times, he said, when “someone calls me at noon and I’m at the hospital at three. I prioritize things and, if they want the whole family to be around, I adjust my schedule to accommodate everyone.”
With a busy international legal practice, Brosgall said his mobile service only represents about five percent of his business, but fills a need and helps the community.
“Although it’s a relatively small portion of my law practice, when I do get out of my office, I often find myself in all sorts of interesting situations and environments,” he said. “I’ve worked with movie stars while they’re working out in gyms, business leaders in corporate boardrooms … elderly people in long-term care or at home…. The list goes on and on.
“Sometimes I feel less like a lawyer and more like a social worker, psychologist or family counselor when I’m on my mobile visits. People often reach out to me in extremely urgent and critical situations. A solid understanding of the law, excellent communication skills, thorough preparation and good bedside manners all go hand in hand.”
For more information, visit vancouvernotary.biz, call 604-685-2326 or e-mail [email protected]
Rebeca Kuropatwa is a Winnipeg freelance writer.